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Rick Perry's loose talk about Social Security being a ponzi scheme, is generating a lot of contrary ink, or electronic bits as the case may be. Cullen Roche has provided an excellent analysis, accompanied by a great discussion which begins this way.

”First of all, let’s get the definition of a ponzi scheme right. According to the SEC, a ponzi scheme is “an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.” Quite simply, a ponzi scheme involves the promise of future payments that current returns do not justify.”

So, a ponzi scheme is:
-- an investment opportunity
-- whose promoters mislead prospective investors or “marks.”
-- whose investment organization makes payments to existing investors from funds paid into the investment pool by new investors
-- whose promoters promise future payments that current returns on investment do not justify.

However:

-- Social Security is neither an investment opportunity; nor an investment. “investments” are private sector voluntary business transactions involving risk to the investor and offering the possibility of returns on one's investment, while SS is a public sector program requiring payments from members of a specified proportion of their income. In return, they become participants in the program and are promised a particular level of benefits, correlated loosely to the amount of their payments, when they retire at a specified eligibility age. The level of benefits they are due is cost-of-living adjusted throughout the period of their participation in the program. There is no economic risk involved in any of this; though there is political risk, since politicians may welsh on their promises and commitments to participants.

-- In addition, SS is different from a ponzi scheme in that its “promoters” don't intentionally mislead participants in the program. The details about SS are very transparent, and are recorded in great detail on its web site. Lies about the program and fraudulent claims about its benefits are wholly absent from its web site.

-- Next, SS payments are not made to recipients from new funds paid into the program. There is no such operational connection between payments and FICA collections. Payments go to retirees from the Treasury General Account (TGA). FICA collections also end up in that account, but are in no way connected to SS payments. The Treasury issues bonds to the Social Security Administration in the amount of its FICA collections, and these bonds can be redeemed by SSA when needed.

-- Lastly, unlike ponzi schemes, SS “promoters” do not “promise future payments that current returns on investment do not justify.” This is true first, because there are no “returns on investment” for SS, since it's not an investment in the first place. But second, even if one chooses to erroneously consider current SS benefit payments as “returns on investment,” it's very clear that the history of SS benefit payments since the inception of the program under FDR does fully “justify” expectations that future payments will occur as projected by the SSA and the Federal Government. Since the program's inception, every participant has received the benefits due to them in consequence of their participation in the program. The history of this performance is now more than 70 years. This is not the pattern of a ponzi scheme; but one of a Government entitlement program whose benefits are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the monopoly currency issuer in the United States.

Some will look at what I've said, brush aside the logic and the very important contextual framing and will remark. as a commenter did in reply to Warren Mosler's fine analysis of why  SS is not “in ponzi.” The commenter said:

"You are splitting hairs. What will happen when the the money being paid into the SS system is depleted by the money being paid out to people who have previously paid in but now are recipients? The exact same thing that happened to the participants of a Madoff style ponzi scheme. The system wile tank. That’s close enough.”

Comments like this assume that SS is a fund that can be depleted, that the Government requires USD in “the fund” to make its payments, and that the fund can only be augmented by FICA receipts. This assumption is wrong, but it leads to claims that SS must be “reformed” by raising the Salary Cap for FICA payments, or by raising the full benefits retirement age, lest SS is rendered unable to meet its obligations. This is a false problem however, because it ignores the capability of the US currency issuer, the Government to create the currency necessary to pay its obligations at will. Professor Stephanie Kelton has put the real issue very well.

"Funding Social Security is always and everywhere a political choice. The strongest evidence of this comes directly from the 2009 Annual Report of the Trustees. In that report, they predict gloom and doom for Social Security because “there is no provision in current law that would enable full payment of benefits, once the Trust Funds are exhausted”.

In contrast, the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Funds are “both projected to remain adequately financed into the indefinite future because current law automatically provides financing each year to meet next year’s expected costs.”

It is that simple. The former is in ‘trouble’ because the government isn’t committed to making the payments, and the latter gets a clean bill of health because the government will always make the payments."

I think this really underlines how arbitrary the projections of financial doom from the Peterson crowd, CBO, other Government agencies, and people like Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney are. Apart from the silly and unreliable SS projections as far out as 25-65 years from now, the predictions of doom are really based on provisions in law that Congress can change at any time, in an afternoon. Which means that just like the fake national debt crisis, the fake Social Security solvency crisis is Congress's fault.

But this brings us to an even more central issue. Assuming for the sake of argument that SS is a ponzi scheme, then who are the “ponzi schemers,” -- the managers who want to structure things so that the promised returns are eventually not paid to “the marks” -- the retirees in the program, and who also want to use the bonds issued to the program to enrich private sector managers, rather than the retirees?

I think the answer to this last question is plain. The very people who are questioning the sustainability of SS, and other entitlements, and, in particular, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and the deficit hawks who are making claims of insolvency, are the people proposing “reforms,” that will break SS's promises to retirees and future retirees, while failing to ensure that SS can always make its payments, and can never be “in ponzi.” They are the “managers” who are scheming to put SS “in ponzi” so that they can enrich their campaign contributors and the financial elites and deliver the financial outcomes to those elites that they think they are entitled to. These elites complain that working people and regular Americans aren't entitled to social safety net benefits, and they speak scornfully about the right of the rest of us to a decent life free from want and fear. But it is they whose entitlements to get richer at any cost to the rest of us need to be denied and rejected. They are not entitled to sacrifice the rest of us on the altar of their greed, and we must not allow them to swindle us out of Social Security and other safety net benefits. Let us now join the battle. It is the second New Deal or serfdom for us. Let us fight the good fight and put the plutocrats and the ponzi schemers in their place. Let us take our democracy back, and this time see to it that we never come close to losing it again!

(Cross-posted from Correntewire).

Originally posted to Money and Public Purpose on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 08:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fight it out with Paul Krugman (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.bostonreview.net/...

    Social Security is structured from the point of view of the recipients as if it were an ordinary retirement plan: what you get out depends on what you put in. So it does not look like a redistributionist scheme. In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today's young may well get less than they put in).

    •  Krugman this week re that same article: (6+ / 0-)
      Notice what I didn’t say. I didn’t say that the system was a fraud; I didn’t say that it would collapse. I said that in the past it had benefited from the fact that each generation paying in to the system was bigger than the generation that preceded it, and that this luxury would be ending in the years ahead.

      So why did I use the P-word? Basically because Paul Samuelson had done the same; he was basically just being cute, and I was emulating him — which now turns out to be a mistake.

      But anyway, anyone who uses my statement as some kind of defense of Rick Perry and all that is playing word games. I explained what I meant in that Boston Review article, and it was nothing at all like the claims that Social Security is a fraud, is destined to collapse, and all that. Social Security is and always has been mainly a pay-as-you-go system, which is nothing at all like a classic Ponzi scheme.

      Of course, the usual suspects won’t pay any attention to what I’ve just said. But if anyone is actually listening …

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

      BTW: I think that last paragraph has your name on it, beans.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 08:56:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If a generation (2+ / 0-)

        ends up getting less out then they put in, they just might feel defrauded. If my benefits get cut by 25% in 2037 that thought will cross my mind.

        Certainly it won't collapse since workers cannot escape the system. They will still have to put thier dollars in.  Guess it depends on what one means by a collapse. The inability to pay 25% of promised benefits means that the system has failed. Any non-mandatory entity which could only pay 75% of what it owes for decades would fail.

        But the mandatory nature of the program will allow it to limp along.

        Certainly the idea that early 'investors' getting a much better deal than later ones (which Krugman didn't dispute in his update) is a feature of Ponzi games.

        •  eatbeans, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, skayne

          did you not read this portion of this diary?

          Comments like this assume that SS is a fund that can be depleted, that the Government requires USD in “the fund” to make its payments, and that the fund can only be augmented by FICA receipts. This assumption is wrong, but it leads to claims that SS must be “reformed” by raising the Salary Cap for FICA payments, or by raising the full benefits retirement age, lest SS is rendered unable to meet its obligations. This is a false problem however, because it ignores the capability of the US currency issuer, the Government to create the currency necessary to pay its obligations at will.

          To maintain your position, you will need to dispute the above. And it really can't be denied, because what the diarist said is accurate.


          For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

          by psyched on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 09:51:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not really (0+ / 0-)

            since any going outside the system for funding is itself a failure of the system that was meant to self-fund from SS taxes.

            •  YES really, because the law that funds it can be (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul, psyched, skayne, blindcynic

              changed just like the SMI funding law that is "projected to remain adequately financed into the indefinite future because current law automatically provides financing each year to meet next year’s expected costs.”

              This basically shows the SS "crisis" as a manufactured crisis to actually dismantle Social Security!!  Otherwise, simply adjust the law to make it solvent, shut the hell up and move on!

              .... hello? ..... is this mic on???

              Use this for our causes! "Goodbye American Dream" music: http://tinyurl.com/3hhtuyo lyrics: http://tinyurl.com/3jm7g2k

              by Fireshadow on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 06:55:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not a failure (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul, psyched, Alice Marshall, skayne

              No one says the original design of the system has to be maintained. We are free to strengthen it. A lot has happened since the origin. We won the greatest of all wars. We improved our productivity and our standard of living to unprecedented levels. Generations of Americans did that for this country. They won the right to a decent standard of living in their old age. They are ENTITLED to it.

              Furthermore since the origin of SS, the power of the Government to supply net financial resources to the private sector has changed completely due to the shift to a fiat currency system in 1971. We no longer live under the gold standard, and the government cannot become insolvent, barring the stupidity of people who think that its spending must be funded by taxes or borrowing.

          •  Thanks, Ed (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            howd, psyched, skayne

            I can always use a little help from my friends. What's wrong with eatbeans? Is he telling us we ought to eat beans? Or does he just want us to pack it in and agree to eat beans? If it's the former, I say we are ENTITLED to have our standard of living improve along with the growth of productivity during our lifetimes, and if the latter, I'd say I intend to eat neither beans nor shit, and am prepared to make it very difficult for those who want to make me eat either

        •  There is no inability (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psyched, Alice Marshall, skayne

          to pay that 25%. There is only a willingness on the part of many to give in to the "ponzi schemers."

        •  If wages keep pace with productivity then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Letsgetitdone

          one worker can support 3 old coots and still have a better life than the old coot had when (s)he was young.  Why are "progressives" and "Keynesians" so damned conservative.  Its the economic rents, stupid.  Far to much utility distributed to owners and not near a decent share for producers.  Wages should be rising with productivity and they are not.  "Ponzi:" my ass.

          •  Thanks TM (0+ / 0-)

            That is the point! the system is geared to ENTITLE those at the top by stacking the deck so that financial assets flow to them. Fairness has left the country since the 1970s. We now must restore justice and fairness before the system explodes.

      •  Thanks for setting the record straight (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched, Alice Marshall

        I would have done so myself; but I'm not a religious reader of PK, partly because he says things to be cute that adopt the framing of the right and often lead to conceding issues. Paul needs to realize that us regular people, unlike the Nobel winners, are fighting for our lives out here, and we need to frame things so that we do not give an inch in these arguments. people who talk about ponzi in relation to SS are just shits, and that includes PK's idle Paul Samuelson.

      •  in some ways it IS a ponzi scheme (0+ / 0-)

        in some ways it isn't. It is more like a legally binding ponzi scheme. And if you read Krugman in '97 that is what he says. He actually made mores sense then before he became such am political hack. Each new generation of workers pays for the current retirees. Like a ponzi scheme, new investors pay the older ones' return.

        When new investors (suckers) run out the ponzi scheme collapses. What happens when SS workers decline to the point that their funds do not pay the retirees? Like now? When SS started back in the 40's 150+ workers for each beneficiary. Now that ratio is 3:1. Soon it will be 2:1. A political choice has to made- how do we as a nation fund the coming generations of retires when the current workers funding is in adequate? There are no easy choices.

        Demographics are destiny as they say. Change the cost of living to a more realistic scale, means test the rich and yes, raise the age.

        •  Actually, people have thought about this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psyched

          I recommend you go surf ssa.gov where are reviewed all the 'tweaks' that can be applied to overcome the minor shortfalls that are predicted for the middle of this century.

          Really, the earth is going to be able to support an aging population. The calculations have been done.

          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

          by Clem Yeobright on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 07:45:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psyched, Alice Marshall, skayne

          I've carefully defined what a ponzi scheme is above and how SS is different. I don't think you're denying what I said. You're just insisting on the label "ponzi scheme." Nothing is added by doing this. The issue is not whether SS is a ponzi scheme or in any way like one. The issue is whether the Government will change the law as outlined above and guarantee benefits. Another issue is whether the retirement age can be lowered to 60 and the benefits increased by 50%. Those are what we should be thinking about. Not the silly "ponzi scheme" distraction introduced by people who want to find a way to profit from the SS program.

          •  how would (0+ / 0-)

            you "whether the Government will change the law " to make it work? Much less lower the age and increase benefits?

            And you're right I am not arguing with the basic premise, but rather saying there are similarities (as well as dissimilarities) between SS and a ponzi scheme as most understand it.

    •  I'll be happy to fight it out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched, Alice Marshall

      with PK who has recently shown frequent lapses in logic, and inability to escape from neoliberal framings. However PK is not the issue. I specified above why SS is not a ponzi scheme. Evidently you disagree. That's fine; but i'd appreciate some effort on your part to confront my arguments. Otherwise, what are you saying? Only that we disagree, but never why.

  •  Thanks, Letsgetitdone, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miningcityguy, Superskepticalman

    for a nice exposition and refutation of the fake concerns about SS.


    For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

    by psyched on Fri Sep 16, 2011 at 09:53:05 PM PDT

    •  You're welcome, Psyched (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched

      I've learned a lot from my friends Warren Mosler, Randy Wray, Bill Mitchell, Stephanie Kelton, Marshall Auerback, and other writers on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). They've given me the tools to fight back against the Austerians.

  •  How much is the first poster, eatbeans, paid? (6+ / 0-)

    The army of trolls, paid and volunteer, is stunning.

    After a careful argument about the definitions and the situation at hand, the troll brings in Paul Krugman as the show stopper.

    This is like the global warming denier crowd.

    The global warming crowd has a lot of trouble getting phrases from noted scientists that they can banter around as part of their propaganda. With social scientific, it is easier to pull a phrase out of context like was done here by eatbeans.

    W Bush couldn't pull off the attack on SS that Obama is now on the path of pulling off.

    Check out the most recent article by Krugman, Free to Die.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Here is a link to the most recommended postings on the article.

    http://community.nytimes.com/...

    I am not a hide rater, but I think that it is important to keep eatbeans up as the first comment.

  •  I still don't understand why there IS a cap (4+ / 0-)

    on the income amounts... seems like there might not even be these arguments if the pool of money filling the trust funds was that much bigger. I feel really dumb about this but I just never understood why- beyond political expediency to start the plan way back?- why was it designed this way?

    •  Because Social Security was designed... (3+ / 0-)

      ...as retirement insurance for all citizens, not public assistance for only lower income Americans.  The wage cap exists to prevent the unusual (and, in the 1930s, duplicative and unsustainable) outcome of five figure payouts to wealthy contributors from what for all intents and purposes is a fairly conservative trust.

    •  Because it's an income replacement program (5+ / 0-)

      SS provides retirement benefits based on what you contributed in your working years. If you earned a lot - and paid FICA on it - you get a bigger monthly check than if you earned less (and contributed less).

      Currently, SS replaces 90% of your earnings up to $749 per month, 32% of those between $749 and $4,517, and 15% beyond that.  (The dollar amounts are called 'bend points').

      Since you are not permitted to contribute on earnings above the cap, of course, the replacement stops at the cap. For someone who has reached the cap every year of his/her working life, the maximum monthly check today is about $2,300.

      If the cap were removed, then for every $1 million average earnings beyond $54,204 (that's 4517 x 12), you would be entitled to $150,000 a year in increased benefits, that is, $12,500 more per month. (Of course, you would also have paid $124,000 more per year in FICA.) If you remove the cap, then, there will be more money coming in but there will also be monthly Social Security checks for tens of thousands of dollars.

      This all works based on median survivability rates which stand at something around 79 years old. That's why if you retire at 62 you receive a smaller benefit and if you wait until 70 you get a larger one; by the time you are 79 (or so), you'll have received the same amount no matter when you retired. But you get the original monthly benefit no matter how long you live, so if you plan to die young you should retire early and if you live to 100 you'll make out better by retiring at 70.

      Now consider that high-earners also have a propensity to live longer and you see the problem. You and I are looking for maybe $1,600 a month for 14 years, while those $12,000 and $20,000 and $50,000 monthly checks are more likely to be paid out for 30 years.

      There are lots of possibilities for adjusting these factors, but (a) a $10,000 (in 2011 dollars) SS check just looks 'bad' but (b) replacing less than 15% makes SS look a lot more like a welfare program than a contributions-benefits program.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 06:36:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It was expediency (4+ / 0-)

      which led to a regressive design for FICA. The salary cap has been raised a number of times. No matter how many times it's raised however, it's always been a flat tax. Never a progressive one.

      •  Disagree. It was actually idealism. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice, howd

        It was the People paying for the People's retirement.

        SS was designed to be NOT welfare, NOT 'the dole'. The American worker can produce enough value in his/her lifetime to afford a good life for self and family until 'the end' (and beyond, actually). There is no need to expropriate the wealth - whether justly or unjustly accumulated - of others in order to take care of ourselves.

        Congress can enact wealth-redistribution programs at will - AND it can repeal them at will. Congress tomorrow can levy a tax on the rich and send $1,000 bonus checks to everyone over 65, just to thank them for their contributions in their lives. That would be nice, but it's 'welfare' (and it's not likely to happen).

        Social Security is built on a different model: contributions -> benefits.

        I like it. Send out all the bonus checks you can, but at the same time please leave Social Security alone!

        Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

        by Clem Yeobright on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 07:24:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Our perspectives (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alice Marshall, psyched, skayne

          are simply different. I'm not talking welfare. I'm talking ENTITLEMENT. Ordinary people are entitled to a decent living in retirement. i think it's an American right! And I want to fight things out on these grounds. I know it's a loser in this climate. but it's right, and I'm going to stick with it, until we recognize tht Wall Streeters are not the only ones with entitled to things.

        •  Thanks for The Insight (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          I've been a strong proponent of "just lift the damn cap"!  But as I learned more about the details of Social Security, the more I realize how important it is to keep it as a "contributions - benefits" program.  However, this does make it more difficult in addressing the so-called deficit.  

          Personally, what I would be talking about is that Social Security would be just fine IF  the richest 1% didn't take an extra 15% of the income pie for themselves since 1970.i.e. in 1970 they took 9% of the income pie and now they are taking 24%.   Here is how much the extra 15% taken by the 1%ers costs Social Security:  

          $12.5 T = Total Personal Income in US
          $1.875 = 15% of $12.5T (amount that should be going to workers)
          $232B = 12.4% of $1.875 (SS contribution (12.4%) on $1.875)

          $232B is the extra amount of money that would be going into Social Security, EACH YEAR,  if we had the same income distribution we had in 1970.  I'm not sure if that would address the shortfall 25 years into the future, but I'm guessing it would.  PLUS, imagine what $1.875B more in the hands of working people EACH year would be doing for the economy.   Talk about a STIMULUS!

          The underlying problem for our economy is the income inequality! Period.

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 10:23:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe I'm cynical. (maybe?) (5+ / 0-)

    First, a good article, with one note. The purpose of a Ponzi scheme is to get all those investors piling in their money on the deceptive promise of high returns, until, at some time determined by the schemer, he absconds with all the money that has not been paid out to lure in new investors. That can only happen with SS if the politicians steal what is truly OUR money.

    But the cynical part is this drive to privatize. As the baby boomers age, instead of investing, they will be divesting their portfolios. This means more sellers than buyers on Wall Street. This, unless I am missing the whole scheme (or scam) means the market goes down. So the big money players would love a huge injection of capital from SS to prop up the market, and ensure their continued profits. And, of course, what Wall Street wants, their paid for politicians promote.

    I could be wrong, but I think it's a part of the equation.

  •  Great diary! It's important (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Letsgetitdone, psyched, skayne

    that people clearly see the blatant hypocrisy. The government doesn't work well because anti government zealots won't let it. The wall streeters, koch heads and the regulatory structure (ha!) they own want to turn social security into a ponzi scheme by calling it one and forcing changes that will make it one.

    Orwell wrote a how to manual for these people.

  •  Congratulations, Letsgetitdone (0+ / 0-)

    for hitting the Community Spotlight, posting a great exposition of the issues with SS, and generating much good thinking and education!


    For the first time in human history, we possess both the means for destroying all life on Earth or realizing a paradise on the planet--Michio Kaku.

    by psyched on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 10:19:19 AM PDT

  •  The real retirement scheme (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    psyched, Letsgetitdone

    is being run by Rick Perry.  And he wants more. http://motherjones.com/...

  •  Ponzi Scheme Analysis (0+ / 0-)

    The most significant characteristic of a Ponzi Scheme is that when it's structure is examined, it is obvious that the early participants get the money out while those who join later get screwed.
    With Social Security, my generation (baby boomers) has turned Social Security from a reasonably sound financial vehicle into one that is not.
    Using your Ponzi Scheme definition:
    -- an investment opportunity.  SS started out as an investment vehicle where the funds would be put in a lock bock to return an average of approximately 3% on the money contributed (the investment)
    -- whose promoters mislead prospective investors or “marks.”  Politicians (i.e. "promoters") mislead the American citizens into thinking that their money is tucked away to be used for future payments.  This USED to be true (lock box) until the politicians raided the funds and replaced them with IOUs.
    -- whose investment organization makes payments to existing investors from funds paid into the investment pool by new investors.  With the depletion of the "Lock Box" funds, all current payments are made with funds contributed by today's contributions - not from an account that holds funds (as ALL other private insurance companies are REQUIRED to hold by law)
    -- whose promoters promise future payments that current returns on investment do not justify.  There are no current returns on investments.  That "account" only contains IOUs and receipts from the current-year contributions.
    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and craps like a duck - let's just call it a duck.
    Social Security is one of the key reasons that people have lost trust in their government.
    Make this system financially viable again, even if it means giving people their own money in their own accounts so the politicians can't take it any more.

    •  Only morons believe in a "lock box" or some other (0+ / 0-)

      crap like gold doubloons buried in the back yard.  There is no such thing as a "secure" savings account or a "secure" investment.  No matter what sort of accounting system you want to rig up, the young and the productive will be producing the stuff that all of us will consume.  And when that social social system is abandoned there is nothing left.  Whether you receive your support because you own the means of production or because of a tax system the facts remain the same.  And the cost of goods for those who are the producers will be increased by virtue of the goods delivered to those who are not productive.  That is called REAL economics.  Not to be confused with financial drivel.

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